- Associated Press - Saturday, February 1, 2014


NEW YORK (AP) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the possibility of adding two teams to the playoffs will “continue to get serious consideration.”

Goodell said at his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference that he sees many positives to the proposal. He believes it will make for more meaningful games later in the season, keeping fans engaged.

The league’s competition committee is expected to look into the issue this offseason. Each conference would add one playoff team, bringing the total from 12 to 14.

Other topics likely to get consideration include monitoring instant replay from league headquarters and creating a set of guidelines to prevent locker-room bullying.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A company tied to St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has purchased a prime piece of land in the Los Angeles area amid speculation the NFL franchise is considering a return to the city it left for the Midwest nearly two decades ago.

Team officials provided a written statement confirming the recent purchase of a 60-acre site in Inglewood, Calif., adjacent to the shuttered Hollywood Park racetrack.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A suspicious powder mailed to several locations in New York and New Jersey, including at least five hotels near the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl, appears not to be dangerous, the FBI said.

The agency said further testing was being conducted on the substance, but it is “within normal values.”

White powder also was found in a letter sent to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s business in New York City, where police said preliminary tests showed it posed no threat.


Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez used “coded messages” to communicate about his murder case in jailhouse phone calls, Massachusetts prosecutors said in a request for access to recordings of his calls.

Hernandez also talked about other matters related to his co-defendants’ “whereabouts and likely criminal liability,” the motion says.

The 24-year-old Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the killing of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston man who played semi-professional football and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.



NEW YORK (AP) - Kevin Durant’s 30-point run ended at 12 games when he scored 26 in just 30 minutes, but the Oklahoma City Thunder won their 10th in a row with a 120-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Jazz honored Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan at halftime of their game against the Golden State Warriors by raising a banner featuring the number “1223,” which represents Sloan’s wins during the regular season (1,127) and playoffs (96) in his 23 years with Utah from 1988-2011.

DENVER (AP) - Nuggets guard Nate Robinson had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.



Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild will be the captain of the U.S. men’s hockey team at the Sochi Olympics.

Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter and center Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings will be the alternate captains, U.S. general manager David Poile said.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials said the first of two American warships heading into the Black Sea in advance of the Olympic Games has sailed from Italy.

In another sign of U.S. efforts to protect Americans at the Winter Games, the FBI said at least two dozen agents are going to Sochi, Russia.

Islamic militants have threatened to derail the Winter Games, which run from Feb. 7-23.



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Phil Mickelson made it to the weekend in the Phoenix Open, a week after withdrawing at Torrey Pines because of back pain.

The defending champion shot a 4-under 67 in his afternoon round at cool and breezy TPC Scottsdale, leaving him eight strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Matt Jones.

Watson and Jones were 12 under. Watson followed his opening 64 with a 66, and Jones had his second straight 65 - both in calmer conditions in the morning.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Rory McIlroy hit a wedge within 5 feet for birdie on the 18th hole for a 2-under 70 to regain the outright lead in the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy’s chief challenge came from an American - but it wasn’t Tiger Woods.

Brooks Koepka, who earned his European Tour card last year by winning three times on the Challenge Tour, made seven birdies against no bogeys for a 65 that left him one shot behind McIlroy.

Woods, meanwhile, hit only four fairways and had to rely on some key putts to salvage a 73. He was in a tie for 44th, eight shots out of the lead.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - New Zealand’s Stacey Tate stole the limelight from Lydia Ko by shooting a 4-under 68 to share the lead with South Korea’s Seon Woo Bae after the opening round of the New Zealand Women’s Open.



FRISCO, Texas (AP) - Sydney Leroux scored in the 78th minute to give the U.S. women a 1-0 victory over Canada in an international friendly, the 2014 opener for both teams.

The Americans extended their home unbeaten streak to 78 games (67-0-10). Canada has not defeated the U.S. since 2001.



SAN DIEGO (AP) - James Ward won 10 of the last 11 games to take a stunning five-set victory against Sam Querrey and give Britain a 2-0 lead over the United States in the first round of the Davis Cup at Petco Park.

Ward’s victory followed Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s straight-set win against Donald Young on the temporary red clay court in left field at the home of baseball’s San Diego Padres.

PARIS (AP) - Top-seeded Maria Sharapova beat eighth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 6-2 to set up an all-Russian semifinal against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Open Gaz de France.

Pavlyuchenkova upset fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

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